Thursday, June 02, 2005

The arts matter - and so does drawing crowds

The arts matter - and so does drawing crowds: "The arts matter - and so does drawing crowds
Steven Winn
Thursday, June 2, 2005

The arts are essential, everyone seems to agree. Seventy percent of Californians say artists make for a better community. The state mandates the arts as a 'core subject' in public schools. San Francisco arts organizations, with an aggregate budget of $350 million, attract more patrons in a year here than all sporting events do. So why is it getting harder and harder to pay the bills?
'Crisis' may be too easy a word to throw around, when it comes to the perennially dicey business of arts funding, but things are at a pretty bad pass now. The once vibrant California Arts Council has all but disappeared during the state's fiscal free fall. Very few public schools can actually afford to meet the state arts-education mandate. Shrinking city and county arts budgets around the country mirror the problems. While federal funding has held its own, the Bush-era National Endowment for the Arts has become centrist and highly risk-aversive in its grants. "

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